Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Calorie Game

After a particularly frustrating week, where I could have been called Captain Muffintop every single day, I've decided it's time to return to the basics.  What better way to pontificate about the necessity of counting calories than to get back into the groove of it?
The first picture that shows up when you Google "Captain Muffintop." I shit you not.

"But I don't want to count calories. It's hard and it makes me feel bad about food and blah blah blah." 
Too bad.  Losing lbs is a numbers game.  Are you sick of your jeans mocking you when you put them on? Let's do this.

Step 1: Go to this site and put in your info to find out your BMR.  (Mine is 1805.75, just to keep me honest here)

Step 2: Continue on to this page to figure out how many calories you burn on a daily basis. (I'm going to multiply by 1.55 since I do boot camp 3x/week and dodgeball 2x/week, in addition to the stuff I do with my class and any extra workouts I pop in.  This means 1805.75 x 1.55 = 2798.525)

Step 3: Find yourself a notebook or journal that you're not going to get sick of looking at.  Mine is pink.  Alternatively, there are a TON of apps for smartphones that you can plug calories into (I've used MyFitnessPal, it's not too shabby).  I just find it harder to avoid a notebook sitting on my counter than an app I can hide. 

Step 4:  Eat a "normal" day - eat what you'd normally eat (or, if you can remember everything you ate yesterday, go with that) and write it all down.  It's good to get a base of how many calories you're currently eating now.

Step 5: At the end of the day, add up all the calories you ate.  Now, let's have a little comparison to your number from Step 2.  How did you stack up?

Here's the skinny:

If you are looking to maintain your current weight, you should be hitting that number.  This just means the number of calories you expend in a day is the same as the number you're eating.  
If you're looking to gain weight (I wish), you're going to need to eat more calories than that number.  Don't do this without talking to a doctor or someone who knows better.

If, like myself, you are looking to lose weight, you're going to need to eat less calories than that number.  How much less?

A pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories.  So if you want to lose one pound in a week, you need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day.  This means if your number was 2800 (like mine), you should eat around 2300 calories.  If you want to lose a couple pounds, you're going to need to create 1000 calorie deficit every day, which means around 1800 calories.  I'm going to aim for about 1600, just because it's a number I've worked with before and I know sometimes I'm a cheater and it may end up closer to 1800 some days anyway.  
This has no calories right? The heart means no calories, I'm sure of it.

Keep in mind, if you're working out, that's creating extra calorie deficit.  There is such a thing as eating too little, and your body is going to start eating muscle.  If your body is starving, it's not going to go for your muffin top (such a selfish bastard) - it's going to go for your arm muscles you've been painstakingly trying to build for the last 2 years.  So don't eat too little.  A cotton ball and a bottle of water isn't lunch.  If you'd like to know how many calories you burn in a workout, I'd suggest a gadget that uses a heart rate monitor to calculate it (it's more accurate).  I have a Polar watch and I really like it.  I just need to get my lazy ass in and get the battery changed right now. 

Step 6:  Start looking for where you can carve out calories.  Do you really need that donut from the staffroom when you've already had a snack?  Do you really need 5 tbsp of sugar in your coffee, or can you try cutting back to 3?  One of my weaknesses is my coffee creamer.  I'm really of the mind that if I'm putting creamer in my coffee, it better taste good.  Maybe my solution is drinking less coffee. Stay tuned to find out how many people feel my wrath this week due to lack of caffeine.

Oh, you want to know how many calories are in the foods you eat? Check the box or ask the Google.



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